Select third country (Non-EU) nationals are now able to register for the EasyPASS electronic entry gates to clear immigration upon arrival in Germany.
The EasyPASS machines have been installed for quite some time already and work with facial recognition based on the chip content of EU passports. At Frankfurt Airport they also have replaced the old Iris Scan control lanes in Terminal 1B.
As Germany entered into agreements with several countries in a reciprocal way allowing German citizens to program in the respective national electronic/express entry programs the EasyPASS is now available to a range of citizens.
- New Zealand
- South Korea
- Hong Kong
- United States
The program website itself doesn’t list all these countries at this point in time, likely because the website hasn’t been updated yet.
Anyone who travels frequently is especially interested in saving time. Therefore the “Registered Traveller Program” (RTP) allows frequent travellers holding an ePassport who are non-EU citizens to access reduced passport controls at the Schengen external borders. Participants can easily register at the Enrolment Center and can then use eGates just as travellers from the EU, the European Economic Area and Switzerland can. …
Holders of electronic passports (ePassports) from countries that signed a mutual agreement to use automated border control procedures are now eligible to use EasyPASS-RTP to enter and leave the Schengen area – provided that they are at least 18 years old and registered with the Federal Police. …
After successful face recognition, registered travellers (RTs) from outside the EU – in contrast to the usual EasyPASS procedure – will see a special symbol and have to wait until a border guard opens the exit door.
RTs have to move forward to the monitoring booth, which is located directly behind the EasyPASS gate.
An officer will then check the additional entry requirements and stamp the passport.
Here is a flyer for the EasyPASS program as available from the website referenced above:
And here the questionaire that needs to be handed in:
Currently the control lanes are available in Berlin-Tegel, Cologne, Duesseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg & Munich.
The registration takes place at the Federal Police (Bundespolizei) enrollment office which I actually visited last week in order to register my new passports for Global Entry in the U.S. (the enrollment office at Frankfurt Airport moved from the Lufthansa First Class check-in at Terminal 1A to the second level in Hall B next to the elevator going to the SkyTrain and the Commerzbank branch. The office opens at 6:30am.
The program is free of charge and registration very efficient. I’ve never seen many passengers waiting at these offices of the Bundespolizei and it runs on a walk in basis (no appointments).
I can definitely see this being worthwhile for people who visit Germany frequently and want to save time when clearing immigration. Keep in mind that your non-EU passport will still require to be stamped by an officer behind the gate but that’s going to be just a formality without any questions.